Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Appalling Betrayal of Feminism

I didn't want to write about these women again. It bothers me too much. I've already said what I wanted to say.

But the thought that so many appear to have forgotten them makes me so angry, I feel I just have to keep speaking out.

Or let people like Susan Riley say what I would say.

What a bitter spectacle: MPs from all parties, except the Bloc Québécois, caving to a decades-long campaign by disgruntled gun owners, to U.S.-inspired attack advertising in targeted ridings and to self-interest to issue a death warrant to the long-gun registry

They capitulated to a well-orchestrated disinformation effort, rather than fighting back with reasoned argument and proposed improvements to the existing registry -- rather, that is, than appealing to values, values they conveniently ditched to save their skins.

Dismissed, also, are the victims -- relatives of the women killed at the École Polytechnique, modern-day parents like Elaine Lumley, whose son was shot dead crossing a street in Montreal in 2007. Lumley was on the Hill this week, shocked and stricken by the vote -- but she couldn't get a hearing, perhaps because she doesn't fall into the Tories' approved victim category.

If they were more concerned with fighting crime than scoring ideological victories, our MPs would find a way to fix the registry, not ditch it. Instead, this week's reversal is a symbolic and emotional blow to victims of gun crime -- and a disgrace to their skittish supporters.

Because it's all so true. it is a bitter spectacle. And it is an appalling betrayal.

Not only are these ReformCons forgetting the women of the Polytechnique, they're stripping their deaths of meaning. And dismissing 20 years of heroic feminist struggle to try to make Canada a safer place.

By taking on the powerful gun lobby, and the women hating Cons who would turn Canada into a blood soaked mirror image of gun crazy Amerika.

Long guns are the most common type of firearm used in spousal homicide, according to the RCMP. With restrictions in place against them, the number of women murdered with firearms dropped by 62 per cent between 1991 and 2004.

So where are the progressive voices of protest? Where are all the strong feminists? Why the deafening silence?

Did these women really die in vain?

Did one of the most important feminist struggles in modern Canadian history really mean nothing?

Didn't we learn ANYTHING?

And what kind of country are we becoming?

Those are the questions that haunt me.

As they should haunt us all...


CK said...

Like yourself, I really don't like the direction this country is going; it is becoming more and more like the US under Georgie and Dickie, and of course before then with Big Daddy Georgie and of course, that B-movie actor, Bonzo.

Against the pleas and recommendations of victims' groups and the police, they have already begun to strip us of gun control. This frightens the hell out of me. As you know, the cops used that registry every day.

I have no sympathy for hunters as most can't kill the animals humanely. Plus, research shows red meat to be just as or even more deadly. I wonder if more deadly than my cigs?? MY much missed cigs... but I digress.

Ian said...

What evidence is there that a gun registry would have prevented the massacre? Honestly, you're belittling their memory by using it in an emotional argument for partisan gains. These tragedies happen everywhere, regardless of gun laws. We ought to work to remove the causes of such hatred toward women then focus on these things.

I never really cared either way about the long-gun registry, and was slightly on side of the registry. But these flawed arguments are pushing me toward the neo-Con camp (where I don't really like being).

'berto said...

Exactly what Ian said.

And the "the cops used that registry every day" argument holds no water, unless it can be demonstrated that:

a) they've used the registry to check for LONG guns (as opposed to handguns) that
b) subsequently prevented and/or solved a crime.

I have yet to hear of ANY such evidence.

As I stated in an earlier comment, "CBC Vancouver recently had a report detailing how many on-the-street cops disagreed with the position of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and said that the registry was ineffective and immaterial -- meaning that they didn't rely on it for their safety, and that it wouldn't insure their safety even if they did."

Simon said...

hi CK...I think if you sit on a cloud and look down on this I frequently don't have to be a genius to figure out that we're in big trouble. We seem to have lost our way.
And worse thanks to Harper's wedge politics we are fighting ourselves,the West versus the East, urban areas against rural ones,as Quebec drifts slowly away.
It's a horror show and DEFINITELY not something to deal with when you're trying to give up smoking... :)

Simon said...

Hi Ian...I'm not going to argue about numbers...I think they speak for themselves. But also because if you read up on it these arguments were debated for twenty years, and there is nothing more I can add to them. Besides if some of the mothers of the dead women think a registry might have saved their daughters that's good enough for me.
I admit I share their vision of a world with less guns around. But that's not why I oppose the destruction of the registry.
I oppose it because police officers want it, they believe it makes their extremely stressful job a little safer. When you get involved in a domestic dispute for example, it's really useful to know if there is a gun in the house.
I'm afraid that's why I have no respect for Canadians who are not willing to listen to what those who put their lives on the line have to say. Because they consider filling out forms an affront and a drag. Because they should just be good citizens and do what they can to help. It's not about ME ME's about US. The common good.
Secondly, I regret that you feel you are being pushed into the neo-Con camp over this hyper inflated non issue. Because that exactly what the Harperites set out do. Use wedge politics to set Canadians against each other. It's a dangerously irresponsible policy in a country like ours, and taken to an extreme it could have very unfortunate consequences. So why would you reward someone like that over what is by any realistic standard a piddly issue, compared to all the others we must confront TOGETHER?
Finally, if I do use emotion in this post it's because I feel it.
And I'm not really using it in this post to argue against the registry.
I'm just asking why one of the most famous feminist struggles in modern Canadian history, seems to be absent from this debate.
If somebody else had raised that question I wouldn't have written anything because I'm absolutely beat.But they didn't so I did..

Simon said...

Hi 'berto...I just replied to one of your comments on an earlier post so I hope you don't mind if I repeat what I said...

hi ' don't have to apologize...I respect your views just like I do Dr Dawg's. I just don't agree with them.
I hear what you're saying, if I lived where you do I'd have a gun too. I'm aware of the reality of rural life.
But here's the're making a mistake if you think you can quantify everything.
How can you quantify answering a domestic abuse call, and knocking on the door, and not knowing whether the guy has a powerful hunting rifle. And whether a bullet could come right through the door and blow your head off.
Or picture this scene. You're attending to a hysterical weeping woman, and the husband you told to go put on his pants comes out of the bedroom a minute later with a shotgun, screaming he's going to kill himself.
While pointing the gun at the two paramedics who just walked in on this scene. A gun you didn't know he had. Because if you did know he had one you would have done things just a little differently. Those kind of incidents don't make it into the news, but they are reality for thousands of police officers. So when those who put their lives on the line, ask that they be allowed to use the registry to make their their eyes...just a little bit safer. Or even just to give them a teeny bit more peace of mind. And some Canadians say no way Jose, filling out forms is a DRAG, don't expect me to have any sympathy.
Because when you're a citizen you do what you can for the common good.
Having said that I'm all in favour of fixing the registry so that it's
simpler and less complicated. And I think resources should be diverted if necessary to favour people who live in rural Canada, because they need guns. Make it much much easier to go through the process than it is in urban areas, where we don't need or want them. At least I certainly don't.
And since about 70 percent of Canadians support the registry our views need to be respected as well. Right?
What we need is a COMPROMISE, but of course this issue has been conflated into a case of the poor country people being screwed again by the city slickers, and the influence of the American gun lobby has turned inconvenience into some kind of sacred cause.
And why? So Stephen Harper can create yet another wedge issue to divide another group of Canadians against themselves, and profit from it vote wise. While sowing the seeds of this country's destruction.
Trust me 'berto this is not the hill to die on. It's just a symptom of a much larger problem...

And the problem of course is how to get rid of Stephen Harper. Before he ruins our country...or even start voting for him... :)

'berto said...

Oh, I'm not in danger of voting for him, Simon, especially over an issue like this. (I'd stick pins in my eyes first!) It's just that on this particular issue, I agree with him.

Hey, I find myself in agreement with all kinds of crazy people on different issues sometimes, from Terrance Corcoran to Bill Vander Zalm to Pope Joey the Rat.

It unsettling, sometimes...

Jayde said...

I just stumbled across your blog, and I do believe if I looked up "hypocrisy" in the dictionary, this entry would be next to it.

You complain that the "gun lobby" is using emotional pleas rather than fact, yet do exactly the same thing yourself.

I respect your right to your opinion, but I ask that you at least attempt to do some independent research instead of just repeating the same tired lies and fallacies. The CACP and the Coalition for Gun Control are hardly neutral and reliable sources of information on this issue.

I'm not going to waste my time arguing the facts with you, because it's obvious that you've made up your mind on this issue. I'll just leave you with a couple of points to ponder:

- Saying that registering firearms prevents crime, is the same as saying that registering cars prevents speeding.

- If the registry is so effective, why is it inadmissable as evidence in court?

- What happens if you're wrong? Once all the guns are gone and crime continues unabated, what inanimate object will you blame next? Or will you finally realize that the problem isn't the guns, but the people.

Anonymous said...

"Long guns are the most common type of firearm used in spousal homicide, according to the RCMP. With restrictions in place against them, the number of women murdered with firearms dropped by 62 per cent between 1991 and 2004."

You do realize that the registry did not become law until 1995.

How is it something not even created yet had an effect?

You see rates of firearm deaths and domestic violence have been falling since the 70's.

If the argument for keeping the registry was so strong the evidence would be clear. The Liberals surely looked they really wanted to say we actually got something for the 2 Billion. I am also sure the Coalition for Gun Control looked yet nothing is found.

They choose to confuse licensing and registration and push a fear based again while dancing in the blood of victims.

Anonymous said...

"Besides if some of the mothers of the dead women think a registry might have saved their daughters that's good enough for me."

If the mother of an AIDS victim though the criminalization of homosexuality might have saved her child, would that be "good enough" for you? You cannot simply accept an appeal to emotion because it agrees with what you already believe. A reasonable person would require evidence and rational argument to convince them of a position.

"I oppose it because police officers want it, they believe it makes their extremely stressful job a little safer."

What makes you believe front-line officers support the registry?

An RCMP Corporal (who requested to remain anonymous for fear that his statements would affect his job) offered this assessment: “I certainly do not understand how the CAPC can claim that the registry is a useful tool. I think their doing so is more a statement of how long it has been since any of them has been in touch with front-line policing. I have never once in my career found the registry to be a useful in solving a single crime, and can say without a doubt that I have never witnessed the long-gun registry prevent a crime.”

"When you get involved in a domestic dispute for example, it's really useful to know if there is a gun in the house."

Which the long gun registry does not do. You can transport, lend, and store non-restricted firearms anywhere. A check with the registry is no guarantee. No sensible officer would be any less cautious because the registry revealed no firearms at a specific address. According to a Stats Canada report on family violence in 2006, 82% of domestic homicides are committed with unregistered firearms.

"Because they consider filling out forms an affront and a drag."

Or maybe they just don't think the government has any business asking them irrelevant questions about their relationships and employment history. Or inventing all kinds of victimless paper crimes. The difference between car registration and firearm registration is that you are free to use a vehicle on your own property and failing to register it does not garner you a prison sentence.

"Secondly, I regret that you feel you are being pushed into the neo-Con camp over this hyper inflated non issue."

I am a pro-choice, pro-gay rights, atheist, but I am also being pushed away from the Canadian political left. This is not a "piddly" issue. This is about the foundations of liberalism: personal freedom and self determination. Those who trade freedom for "security" will deserve neither and lose both.

Rod Smelser said...

I came across a story in the Globe and Mail for Wednesday that seemed to shed new light on the controversy over the gun registry and Bill C-391.

Quebeckers alone in wanting gun registry saved: poll

Most Canadians outside that province favour abolishing long-gun registry, according to results

Unknown said...

Feminism would allowing women to conceal carry handguns in 1989.

If you read the events of that fateful day, people simply cowered in the face of an armed bigot. If but one of the women had been armed, how many fewer would have died?

But instead our sexist and degrading gun control laws, which prevent women from defending themselves, forced them to be slaughtered like cattle. For shame!